Randy Loveless is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Coaching and Mentoring, where he trains professionals to become successful entrepreneurs.

Mountain biking has been a passion of mine for years, and the sport has revealed numerous parallels between itself and entrepreneurship to me. One such lesson learned on the trail is the basis for this article title. You go where you look. While this may sound obvious, it can be frighteningly easy and dangerous to take your eyes off the trail. When approaching a narrow “skinny” section, the rider must focus on the path and not the obstacles. If you center your attention on the tree, you are likely to hit it. If you concentrate on the rocks, they are probably going to be your downfall.

Similarly, for most business leaders, it is extraordinarily easy for obstacles to become the focal point. One can get lost in the day-to-day challenges, operations, issues and functions of running a company. In small businesses and startups, this may be due to the owner or executive finding themselves buried as they work in the business and failing to systemize their processes to allow more time to work on the company’s growth and expansion. In larger, more established organizations, executives can slip into a mode of constant fire-fighting where they’re jumping from one major issue to the next. This relentless pattern can cause the leader to lose sight of the trail, and their vision, altogether.

To maintain focus and capture the exhilarating ride down the mountain despite the barriers between them and their goals, the astute leader must be intentional on a daily basis. On average, research (via Scientific American) suggests that it only takes 66 days to form a habit. Becoming constantly overwhelmed by short-term issues can lead to repeated misdirection and ultimately land the company in a spot that was never intended.

Here are five tips that will help prevent you from veering off track and keep you and your teams centered on the trail toward tremendous success:

1. Set goals that truly align with the desired direction of your company. This almost goes without saying, as the vast majority of companies have put in the effort to establish goals. Many organizations, though, never actually achieve them, and some end up so far away from the target that they have no idea how to get back on track. A survey from Clutch showed that only 5% of small business owners surveyed had met all of their goals in the last year. To be one of the few who arrive at their intended destinations year after year, identify the endpoint clearly, and communicate it consistently, as doing so is a foundational part of success.

2. Focus on the outcomes you want to achieve and the steps to get there. Setting goals is necessary, but it’s not nearly enough. A goal is only a distant dream unless it’s accompanied by actionable steps to get to the destination. Use your goals as a guiding light for every decision you make. If what you find yourself doing on any given day is not moving you closer to a goal, consider why you spend your time doing something that isn’t helping you achieve your objectives. It is okay not to follow through on good ideas that distract from the agreed-upon target.

3. Learn to let go. Despite how it may seem, many issues that arise in business are not watershed moments that will define your company’s success or failure. However, even knowing this, many leaders become lost in the weeds of complicated concerns that detour progress toward real success. If a problem is not big enough to require your specific attention, don’t be afraid to offload the issue on someone more suited to handle it or even table the concern altogether. Addressing unimportant problems can waylay efforts and quite literally put the focus on the obstacles instead of the target.

4. Lead inspired. Motivate others toward the goals, both short and long-term. When your team sees you relentlessly pursuing the pathway you said was most important, it demonstrates to them that the goal is far more than an idea to be discussed or a pipedream to be forgotten. Your dedication to achieving the established objectives will set a clear and tangible direction for those who follow. As a leader, your team will end at the destination to which you led them. When targets are missed, the responsible executive looks first to the mirror to determine why.

5. Measure and adjust. As the year carries on and complicated business operations result in ongoing challenges, goals can be neglected if not routinely measured. Set up processes that seamlessly measure progress. If possible, establish automated processes that require little to no employee time. Determine exactly when you will review the outcome data and who will be joining you in decision-making to adjust your aim, if necessary. Maintain this as a standard part of your week or month, and use this practice as a tool to keep you laser-focused on the destination.

No matter the industry you’re in or the size of your business, knowing the direction you are going and actually arriving at the desired location is paramount to ensuring positive movement and long-range achievement. By relentlessly focusing on the end goal and the path to get there, business owners and executives can hold firmly to the wheel (or handlebars) to steer through troubled times and challenges with ease. Don’t forget that this is a tall order, and not all ever arrive. Take up the challenge to be among the rare and one of the best.

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